Blade: Trinity appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie boasted a very strong transfer.
Across the board, sharpness looked terrific. Virtually no softness ever crept into the presentation. The movie consistently came across as concise and distinctive. Jagged edges and shimmering created no concerns, and I also noticed only a smidgen of edge enhancement. No source flaws ever appeared, as the movie lacked marks, specks, debris or distractions of any kind.
Just like every other flick that tries to be hip and edgy, Trinity featured a highly stylized palette. During the early parts, the movie went with a golden tone, while later sequences opted for more of a bleached-out appearance. Within the confines of the visual design, the colors looked solid, as I noticed no bleeding, noise or other concerns. Blacks seemed dynamic and rich, while low-light shots demonstrated fine delineation and clarity. Nothing much interfered with the picture here, as the movie always looked great.
Similar thoughts greeted the audio of Blade: Trinity. The flick boasted both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 soundtracks. If any differences occurred to separate the two, I didn’t notice them. I thought both the Dolby and DTS mixes sounded virtually identical.
Big comic book movies usually come with big action soundtracks, and that was often the case with Blade: Trinity. The flick presented a consistent assault and used the various channels to good effect. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and the effects cropped up from various locations with good delineation and blending. Quieter scenes demonstrated a fine sense of atmosphere, and the louder ones kicked the action into higher gear. The movie didn’t present many real standout scenes, but it balanced the five channels with good involvement and activity.
No issues connected to audio quality occurred. Speech always appeared natural and concise, with no edginess or intelligibility problems. Music sounded robust and dynamic. Highs were tight, while low-end was deep and firm. Effects followed suit, with bright, accurate elements at all times. These never became distorted, and they kicked in with good bass response when necessary. All in all, the audio impressed.
Both prior Blade flicks packed on the extras, and this two-DVD release of Blade: Trinity doesn’t alter that rule. On Disc One, we find both the theatrical version of the film and the unrated extended cut. I only watched the theatrical edition for my review, but I picked up on some of the changes for the extended Trinity. I think the most substantial one comes from an alternate, darker ending. I like the fact that both versions appear on the same disc, though I should note that the theatrical cut’s seamless branching isn’t totally smooth, at least not on my player; I noticed brief pauses when it jumped to different material.
Also on DVD One, we get two separate audio commentaries. The first presents writer/director/producer David S. Goyer and actors Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. While better than the average actor-centric commentary, this one falls short of “slam-dunk” territory.
The piece consistently remains anecdotal in nature. We learn a lot of little tidbits like casting, training, and character information, but the majority of the remarks deal with the action on screen and tell us background about that. This means notes about improvisation and all the quirky details of the day.
On the positive side, the commentary remains light and breezy, with a nicely chatty and humorous tone. On the negative side, scads of happy talk appears here as the participants praise almost everything about the project. Dead air also becomes an issue at times, especially during the occasionally tedious second half of the track. It offers a generally likable listen, but it never threatens to become a classic.
For the second track, we hear from Goyer plus producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, production designer Chris Gorak, and editor Howard E. Smith. Everyone except the two producers sat together; Frankfurt and Harris were recorded as a pair separately and the two tapes got edited into one program. As one might expect, this piece deals with nuts and bolts issues. We hear a lot about lighting and cinematography as well as sets and locations, story and editing, stunts and effects, and general filmmaking topics.
At its best, this proves to be another light and engaging track, and it moves nicely during the film’s first half. Unfortunately, it echoes the problems I encountered during the prior commentary. It runs into a moderate amount of dead air through the flick’s second half, and it also provides an awful lot of general praise. I recommend that you give it a listen, but don’t expect a scintillating discussion.
When we head over to DVD Two, the big attraction comes from a lengthy documentary called Inside the World of Blade: Trinity - Daywalkers, Nightstalkers and Familiars. Comprised of 18 chapters that run a total of one hour, 46 minutes and 33 seconds, it presents the standard mix of movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We hear from Goyer, Biel, Reynolds, Harris, Frankfurt, Beristain, Gorak, Smith, executive producer Avi Arad, casting director Ronnie Yeskel, fight choreographer Chuck Jeffreys, stunt coordinator Clay Donahue Fontenot, conceptual artist Tyruben Ellingson, costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, special effects coordinator Rory Cutler, visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, visual effects production manager Greg Baxter, visual effects producer Joseph B. Conmy IV, composers the RZA and Ramin Djawadi, supervising sound editor Curt Schulkey, supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Aaron Glascock, foley artist John Roesch, re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay, digital intermediate colorist Jill Bogdanowicz, and actors Wesley Snipes, Triple H, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Dominic Purcell, Natasha Lyonne, and Kris Kristofferson.
The program covers Blade’s screen origins and story development, choosing the director and his influence, casting, characters and training, set and costume design, cinematography, weapons and stunts, editing, music and sound design, digital coloring and prospects for Blade’s future. We also hear some trivia from the shoot along with a glossary of terms used during the production like “daystar” and “ass-kickery”. As one might expect of a program that lasts nearly two hours, a lot of good information appears here. We find a nice overview of the production that fleshes out with details about virtually every appropriate subject. I especially like Smith’s deconstruction of his editing choices for a particular scene. However, “Inside” suffers from more praise and happy talk than usual for this sort of program. That means that while it definitely merits a look, it never quite becomes a genuinely great piece.
Next comes an unusual feature called Goyer on Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director. This five-minute and 11-second piece offers exactly what the title implies: Goyer has a chat with himself. It’s a cute concept but it exists mainly as a promotional piece and doesn’t tell us anything new.
The Alternate Ending goes for 82 seconds. It focuses on the further exploits of the Nightstalkers and stands as clear opening for another film. It’s not a good scene, but it’s fun to see.
We find a 10-minute and 52-second Blooper Reel. Inevitably, this includes some of the usual goofs and giggles material typical for this sort of piece, but it also presents a nice mix of outtakes and improvisations. That makes it unusually entertaining and worth your time.
Two subdomains pop up in the Galleries area. The first covers “Visual Effects Progressions” and splits into three reels that demonstrate the progression of some transformation effects; those run 112 seconds, 176 seconds, and 93 seconds, respectively. “Weapons” cover 14 items used in the movie. Each one gets a frame of its own to show us the gadget and explain some things about it. Both are decent pieces but nothing special.
In the Trailers section, we get both the teaser and theatrical ad for Trinity plus a promo for its soundtrack. “More from New Line” also includes clips for Wedding Crashers, The New World, King’s Ransom, Constantine and the extended DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
For an Easter Egg, go to “Inside the World of Blade: Trinity on the main menu and click up. This highlights a symbol that looks like a “Q”; press “enter” to see a 58-second outtake of Blade as he hangs from the ceiling like a bat. Since we hear about this clip elsewhere, it’s good to actually see it.
In addition to all these disc-based materials, the package includes an exclusive comic book. This offers the origin story for the Nightstalkers, as we see Abby’s training and how Hannibal hooked up with her. It’s good to get this information and the comic’s stylish and fun.
After two very good movies, the franchise falls a bit flat with Blade: Trinity. Sure, the movie has its moments, but some decent action scenes aren’t enough to overcome to bizarrely quippy tone and disjointed story. As for the DVD, it presents excellent picture and audio with a broad and informative set of extras. Fans of Blade will probably find some entertainment here, but I can’t recommend this erratic film to anyone else.